A new report from WGSN provides a detailed overview of the Japanese fashion market, where mobile retailing is an established market. And, whilst Japanese consumers' mobile phones are often markedly different to those of consumers elsewhere, it offers some very interesting insights into how mobile retailing could ultimately evolve in the West.
According to the Japan Fashion Report
, purchases made via the mobile internet reached ¥258 bn (£1.75 bn) as early as 2006, when many US and European consumers could not even access the web from their cellphones.
Today, Japanese etail giants can make as much as one quarter of their sales via cellphones. Nearly half of Tokyo's single females are accessing the mobile web more than five times a week, with the peak shopping time between 1pm and 3pm reflecting the part-time employment status of many young Japanese.
"Buying fashion through mobile phones is a huge business in Japan, especially among the all-important young female consumers," says the report's author, Sandra Halliday. "Use of mobile phones means online shopping behaviour can be different from those using computers to shop online. Young women will often try on items in stores, but rather than buying there, they take a few minutes out of their shopping trip to order them via their phones, not only avoiding carrying their purchases home but also collecting the loyalty points they earn from the website."